All posts by Rachel van Koningsveld

Critical care registered nurse from Dallas, Texas who made Aliyah. Follow me on my journey, and fall in love with the land of Israel! Hopefully my story can inspire and encourage others to make return home as well. Feel free to send me any questions, or even your own story so I can share it here!

Reading Corner: “Becoming Israeli: The Hysterical, Inspiring and Challenging Sides of Making Aliyah” by Akiva Gersh

Two years ago, Becoming Israeli was the first book I was able to find about the Aliyah experience. At the time, I was preparing to make Aliyah myself and desperate to hear stories from more people about what they went through moving to Israel. I was terrified of having a “failed” Aliyah (moving back to the States), and so I was determined to figure out the secret of a successful Aliyah.

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Changing My Name

Since I was a child, I knew I wanted to be called by my Hebrew name, Rachel. But as is often the case, life kept getting in the way. I told myself that I would change my name legally when I became an adult. While researching, I discovered that changing your name in the US can be a drawn-out process and a bit pricey, with a court hearing and all. I decided that I would save up money to then be able to change my name.

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Buying Our First Car in Israel

Needless to say, as olim chadashim living in the center of the Shomron without a car, life has been pretty difficult getting around and going to government appointments, the bank, etc. Add to that the fact that we’re newlyweds, and because of our busy schedules and having to bus anywhere we go, we hadn’t been able to go on a honeymoon (or even so much as a tiyul). Thus, our search for a car began.

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Obtaining an Israeli Driver’s License

To state the obvious: driving in Israel as a tourist or as an oleh chadash is scary. Mix middle eastern driving, middle eastern roads, and good ole Israeli chutzpah, and you’ve got the perfect storm for disaster. Unfortunately, you can’t take a bus everywhere. And sometimes it’s just more practical to take a car for a long-distance trip or to schlep all of your groceries from Rami Levy/Osher Ad. You can drive on your foreign license for one year from the day you entered Israel (as long as it isn’t expired). After the first year, you’ll need to have converted your driver’s license or face taking driving tests from Israeli driving instructors.

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